Senateâ€™s Broad-Based Tax Hikes Should Be Rejected by House
Cell Phone, Home-Heating, Online Shopping Bills Could All Rise
July 27, 2017, Harrisburg, Pa.â€"In an effort to close a budget gap created by their own overspending, Senate lawmakers today passed a series of broad-based tax hikes that will hit nearly every Pennsylvania family and job creator.
Under the Senateâ€™s $2.2 billion revenue plan, Pennsylvanians would pay a higher tax on cell phone service, home-heating bills, electricity, and some online purchases made through vendors such as Amazon and eBay. The Senateâ€™s $571.5 billion tax hike would cost a family of four nearly $180 dollars in higher taxes.
A new natural gas gross receipts tax makes up the lionâ€™s share of the increase. Half of Pennsylvania households will pay this tax on their home heating bills. Additionally, the Senate piled a natural gas severance tax on top of the impact tax drillers already pay.
â€œLawmakersâ€™ first mistake was passing an unconstitutional, unbalanced spending plan that far exceeds available revenueâ€"for the second year in a row,â€ commented Nathan Benefield, vice president and COO for the Commonwealth Foundation. â€œGov. Wolf then abdicated his legal responsibilities by letting an unbalanced budget become law.
â€œNow, adding insult to injury, Senate lawmakers rejected tangible solutions to balance the budget without tax increasesâ€"such as redirecting lavish corporate welfare handouts and letting private stores sell liquorâ€"and instead hit Pennsylvanians with broad-based tax increases. This is the opposite of responsible governing.â€
(Table: Senate Tax Hike Proposal)
Contrary to some policymakersâ€™ claims that they have shielded Pennsylvanians from tax hikes for years, state government has raised taxes four times in the past eight years, totaling $4 billion. Indeed, last yearâ€™s $650 million tax increaseâ€"also sold as a way to balance an unconstitutional, unbalanced budgetâ€"crushed nearly 100 vape shops.
â€œWe canâ€™t keep repeating the failed mistakes of the past,â€ Benefield continued. â€œMultiple tax hikes have not addressed the real problem, which is frivolous overspending. You canâ€™t claim government is â€˜cut to the bone,â€™ while politically connected special interests siphon $800 million in corporate welfare from taxpayers every year. While raising home heating bills for half of Pennsylvania households, the Senate left in place the horse-racing industryâ€™s $250 million in public subsidies.â€
â€œAs this harmful bill moves to the House, we urge lawmakers to stand up for Pennsylvania families and job creators, reject these broad-based tax hikes, and implement responsible solutions."
Nathan Benefield and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.
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